Posts Tagged ‘Scotland’

I haven’t reviewed an album in what must be knocking on two years. This tragic hiatus from the world of amateur music journalism can largely be attributed to the fact that I haven’t even bought a CD in half of that time. Jack White Blunderbuss may well have been my last purchase to date. Jesus!

Rather, these days my bank balance at ATMs tends to read “don’t make plans you’re broke” a la Hard Fi – Cash Machine. In spite of my economic woes, I cobbled together enough disposable income at the end of last month to live for the weekend and make a long-awaited addition to my record collection. On recommendation from my brother I went for Franz Ferdinand’s fourth installment entitled Right Thoughts Right Words Right Action (RTRWRA).

Right all round - Franz Ferdinand's third album.

Right all round – Franz Ferdinand’s third album.

Ok, first things first, I acknowledge that my review has arrived a little late – RTRWRA was released in August 2013. Nevertheless, this record has gone so far to rekindling my love for scratchy guitar music that I believe it merits a mention on this space!

On first impressions, I agree whole-heartedly with Tonedeth in that this isn’t a record that will blow you away. This is a record to blow your whole bloody house and all its content away! No, that is an exaggeration too far – in all honesty RTRWRA is a typical Franz Ferdinand album; nothing more, nothing less.

Contra to the way the old saying goes, Alex Kapranos et al. keep managing to reinvent the wheel… but rather well at that. The Franz wheel is now an embellished one; featuring sublime traction courtesy of their second album You Could Have It So Much Better and sparkling alloys afforded by their stonking third record Tonight.

All in all, RTRWRA is a classic 10-song serving of indie rock – a brand of music which any reader of Riot on the Radio will know I am more of a sucker to than a baby is a dummy. ‘Music for the dance floor’ or ‘for a night of hedonism’ as Free Girl in Paris so elegantly yet accurately puts it. Never is there a dull moment, from the fruity twangs of Fresh Strawberries to the incessantly probing Bullet. Textbook ‘This Fire’-esque opening riffs are omnipresent in tunes such as Treason! Animals in contrast to the gorgeous slow-burner that is The Universe Expanded. As A. D. Elliott states over at ‘The Remarkables’ – every song is worthy of a repeat.

The Glaswegian quartet always had a little too much style and originality to survive the post-2008 cull of indie bands. Whereas The Horrors tweaked their sound and acts like The Vaccines arose to target the teenage fanbase; Franz have just stuck to the same formula. And why not? After all, this is a tried and tested formula that ‘took out’ the nation in 2004!

As if I haven’t sung their praises enough already, FF are signed to Domino Records, the label responsible for (amongst others) Arctic Monkeys, Hot Chip, Villagers and Animal Collective. What’s more, lead singer Kapranos produced the third album, Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever, for another favourite outfit of mine, The Cribs. And to wrap it all off, I’m reliably informed by Wikipedia that the Franz frontman spends his time outside of recording/touring in a carpentry workshop crafting ‘abstract furniture’. Hence, on the basis of this triple whammy, I wish to boldy proclaim Alex Kapranos as a ‘treasure’ – a status that I recently assigned to Alex Turner.

Apparently, and unsurprisingly, RTRWRA is equally good live. Me for one, I can’t wait to sample it. Right on!

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For anyone without the luxury of 3G on their mobile, you will understand my frustration at Shazam‘s inability to work without internet connection. Whilst perusing the racks of bargain t-shirts in Topman today I heard this rather groovy track played overhead. Of course, due to the aforementioned technological inferiority of my mobile telephone I was unable to detect whom the artist was. Fortunately the lines “you thought you’d set the bar” and “cog in a machine” stuck fast in my mind.

Turns out the culprit is a Scottish four-piece bearing the exotic name Django Django. The double D apparently released their self-titled debut back in January, something I was previously oblivious to. Default (below) has gained them some notoriety, amassing over 800,000 YouTube hits. It’s no fluke either, these boys have their own brand of music and paint a colourful canvas of art-rockFurther tracks like Drumbeats and Life’s a Beach justify why The Guardian elected to award their debut 5 out of 5. 

Because Music records have the luxury of Django Django’s signature. The London & Paris-based independent label can also boast amongst their ranks synth supremos Metronomy, Justice and the highly individual individual Connan Mockasin!

Django Django will play Latitude and T in the Park festivals this summer. Check them, and double check them, on Soundcloud here.

How did The Waterboys evade me for this long? After spectating on their three-song Jools Holland set and reading StevoMusicMan’s review, I am now immersing myself in their Best Of ’81-’90 album.

Album cover – The Best Of the Waterboys ’81-’90.

Formed in 1983 by ‘madman/genius’ Scottish songwriter Mike Scott, The Waterboys have gone on to become an age-defying project that has encompassed Celtic folk and rock influences. Although an 80’s child myself (Calvin Harris has love for me), The Waterboys’ big music didn’t quite penetrate my unfused two-week-old braincase. Hence I am playing catch up as per usual!

Highlight of the Best Of disc is Ivor Novello award-winning The Whole of The Moon – a marching romp that reaches cacophony levels by the time it encounters trumpets. Funnily enough, a main feature of Don’t Bang The Drum is the walloping percussions reminiscent of any Top of The Pops 2 edition.

New tenth album An Appointment with Mr Yeats is Scott’s musical embodiment of W.B Yeats’ poetry. Sweet Dancer is a crooning melody littered with endearing piano keys and romantic lines. In the beautiful waltzing Mad as the Mist and Snow I genuinely believe the Anglo-Scottish-Irish act could have an outsider for Christmas number one. In an ideal world of course.

With The Pogues supposedly now retired from Christmas concerts following their 2010 Farewell tour, Mike Scott and co can claim the season as their own. I can just see the snow machines sprinkling winter venues now… Catch the rest of the Jools set at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/later/#p00lgvhp

Think and Feel, the final single to be released on November 7th by Dananananaykroyd. Jumpy, shouty and tremendously groovy!

One can listen to Calum Gunn’s new project called Slimes here. Thanks to the fellows at Work It Media for dropping the link 🙂 Incidentally, is the Slimy single Shit one of the backing tracks to Channel 4 show Fresh Meat or am I talking the brown stuff?

Sadly Dananananaykroyd are to split.

Glasgow’s [and the world’s] finest fight pop sextet had been toiling in a severe energy deficit ever since their formation in 2006. Their riotous, literally bone-breaking live sets will be remembered fondly by those privileged enough to be in attendance. Fronted by dual vocalists Calum Gunn and John Baillie Junior, Dananananaykroyd had a thrilling and unique on-stage chemistry. Audiences were treated to the inventive Wall of Cuddles, a relentless but glorious racket and irrepressible Glaswegian humour. Two shoe-losingly mega introductory gigs in the NME/Radio1 tents at Reading & Leeds will be noted as the band’s highlight.

I leave you with arguably their two greatest numbers.

Dananananaykroyd – Black Wax

 

Dananananaykroyd – Some Dresses

 

Enjoy your sabbath boys, be it pink and pretty 🙂

Dananananaykroyd will play twelve more gigs.

October
29 Glasgow ABC
31 Manchester Deaf Institute

November
Leicester Firebug
Brighton The Haunt
London KCLSU
Derby Victoria Inn
Stoke Sugarmill
Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
Exeter Cavern
10 Oxford Bullingdon
11 York Fibbers
12 Newcastle Cluny